The Czech Republic capital, Prague, is one of the most stunning cities in Europe. The first time I visited Prague, a few months after the former Eastern Bloc countries were added to the Inter Rail network in 1991; I didn’t really know what to expect. The big travel companies hadn’t even started running tours there, so, pre-internet, I didn’t even know what it looked like.
2. Cesky Krumlov
While becoming more and more touristy, you can still feel transported back to a magical medieval period in the small, quaint village of picturesque Cesky Krumlov. Get lost on the cobblestone streets as you window browse the various shops offering delicious treats, handmade goodies, and gorgeous Czech Crystals. If getting some fresh air is more of your thing, take a canoe ride down a lazy river where you can stop for fresh beers from monastery breweries or go on a horseback ride through the countryside.
The Czech Republic has been drawing visitors for decades, but one place in this Central European nation that is growing in popularity is the industrial and fascinating city of Ostrava in the country’s east. For years it was known for being rough and dirty, thanks to the growth of coal mining as its primary industry, but these days its history has turned into one of the great reasons to visit.
You may not have heard of the city of Liberec. Located in the North East of the Czech Republic, this relatively unknown city has several interesting sights from baroque architecture, a giant’s tea party to an alien spaceship. Stroll into the town center and be dazzled by its incredible town hall. Finished in 1891 this building resembles the iconic town hall in Vienna. Close by is an odd bus stop. The bus stop is under a shelter which appears to be a table upon which large items of food have been laid. It is a tea party for a couple of giants! They must have just left though as I did not spot any oversized creatures during my visit.
Pilsen is a great little city often missed out when people visit the Czech Republic. There are lots of things to do in Pilsen to keep any visitor busy for a few days and at the end of each day treat yourself to a glass of Pilsner, the beer made famous by this town.
6. Lednice Park
While the Czech Republic is home to many stunning castles and gardens, on my recent visit one, in particular, stole my heart: Lednice Park. Tucked away in the southeastern Czech Republic, not far from the Austrian border, this park and its neo-gothic castle were once the summer palace of the Liechtenstein family, rulers of present-day Liechtenstein up the other end of Austria. Surrounding the castle is a sprawling English garden-style park, complete with a lake, boat rides, and a minaret watchtower.
One of my favorite places to visit in the Czech Republic was the sandstone “Rock Town” which towers over the town of Tisa. This popular hiking destination is found in the Bohemian Switzerland national park just over an hour drive North West of Prague. These sandstone formations were formed on the ocean bed millions of years ago. As the earth moved the rocks cracked allowing the weather to erode the surrounding soil leaving a diverse landscape of rock walls, arches, spires and towers naturally carved into strange but recognizable shapes.
Telc is a little-known city only a few hours drive from Prague. Surrounded by two ponds and a stone wall, the center of town is ringed with houses built in the late 14th century. They boast elegant gables, stunning molding and trim around the floors, windows, and doors, and on the ground level house shops and restaurants with an arched covered walkway. It’s like stepping into a fairy-tale village.
If you like nature and outdoor activities, Lipno is the perfect place to visit in the Czech Republic. The city is close to the famous and picturesque Cesky Krumlov (only 30 minutes away by car), but it’s totally different from its neighbor. Lipno is surrounded by mountains, rivers, and lakes. During winter it has ski slopes and the frozen lake as an open-air ice skating rink. In summer, it’s a paradise for hiking and sailing. But doesn’t matter the season, the Treetop Walkaway (or Stezka Korunami Stromu in Czech) is an attraction not to be missed.
10. Karlovy Vary
Karlovy Vary, known also under the name Carlsbad, is a lovely spa town in the west of the Czech Republic. Known for natural springs of all possible kinds, the town prides itself in curing the digestive system. Additionally, your digestive system will appreciate a shot of Becherovka, a famous Czech herbal liquor, which is produced in Karlovy Vary.